Thursday, 12 February 2009

Christine Busta's Exodus

The Poet-in-Residence translations of the poetry of Christine Busta are proving extremely popular. Here is another of her poems. It's called Exodus. The title needs no translation. It's sadly an all too familiar situation.
We must know and appreciate that each one is an unique individual. Some, as Robert Musil pointed out are men without qualities. Others, like Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln, both born exactly 200 years ago today, are men with qualities. The trick is to know the difference.


I have cleared out my quarters under the roof.
Removed the bed, the table,
the chair, the shelf with the books.
I have taken the pictures off the walls,
also yours. The guest performance, the house concert
the pans, plates, spoons, glasses
is ended. In a corner
I've left behind a tiny heap of salt
and a piece of hard bread
which I've sprinkled with the last of the schnapps.

Now hope may possibly re-enter here!
In the emptiness I stupidly close behind
it could be that you'll find your true place in this house
as a grey, courageous, drunken mouse.

translated by Gwilym Williams
12 February 2009


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